Pittsburgh Pirates: What Max Kranick's First Four Starts Has Told Us
|Photo Credit: AP Photo/Joe Puetz|
So, it wasn't an ideal game for the Pittsburgh Pirates - again - but we were left with a couple of special moments by ways of one Rodolfo Castro. It also wasn't an ideal start for Max Kranick, who was hit hard again and seems to be a far cry from his debut when he tossed five perfect innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kranick, 24, was the Pirates 11th round pick out of Pennsylvania back in 2016, but could have gone higher in the draft if not for a strong commitment to the University of Virginia. The Pirates were able to lure him out of going to school by offering Kranick an over slot deal worth $300,000.
He worked his way up the system, going one level at a time, spent 2020 at the Pirates alternate training site and made a fast rise up from Double-A, to Indianapolis before reaching the majors.
You couldn't have asked for a better debut from Kranick, who pitched five perfect frames against the Cardinals.
From there, Kranick was recalled to make a couple of spot starts, where he allowed seven runs in six innings through two starts against the New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks.
And then Wednesday night happened against the Milwaukee Brewers, as he was beat up for six earned runs on ten hits in five-plus innings. He was hit hard throughout the night, as he had over half of the batted balls put into play above the 95 MPH threshold.
He was hit hard, leaving far too many pitches over the middle, ripe for the Brewers to take advantage of. The double at the top of the strike zone was from a hanging slider that Kranick threw to Luis Urias.
Kranick, 24, has struggled with this metric throughout the season. Of all Pirates pitchers with at least 50 batted balls in play, the righty has the highest average exit velocity on the team. He also ranks near the bottom of hard hit percentage - along with Mitch Keller, Luis Oviedo and Chase De Jong.